Warriors hope to maintain momentum
By the time Round 16 of the NRL Telstra Premiership rolls around a rest is almost always appreciated by players, but in the case of the Warriors they were probably wishing last week's bye had fallen at a different time in their campaign.
Coming off one of their best performances of the season to down the Gold Coast Titans 34-12, having last week off potentially stalls much of the momentum the Kiwi side generated from their first road win of the year as they prepare to host the Canterbury Bulldogs in Auckland on Friday night.
Centre Blake Ayshford told NRL.com that while the timing of the bye wasn't ideal, it had provided a chance for a number of players to nurse niggling injuries.
"You can look at it both ways, the bye gave us another week to get 'Foz' (Kieran Foran) right from his injury but then again we finally found some form against the Titans," Ayshford said.
"We tried to keep some momentum last week through our training but it was also time to rest some injuries that everyone has at this stage.
"There is good and bad to it, but we are ready to go this week."
For coach Stephen Kearney the focus during the bye week was to maintain a level of intensity at training and ensure his team arrived ready for the physical challenge presented by the Bulldogs, who possess a pack containing four current representatives in the shape of NSW enforcers David Klemmer and Josh Jackson, along with England's James Graham and Toa Samoa rep Sam Kasiano.
"We were pretty adamant that we wanted to make sure that we kept the intensity and the physicality of our preparation in terms of training," Kearney said.
"We had three days of training at the back end of last week and it was really important that we maintained a high standard and a high level of intensity with those sessions, and I thought the guys did a pretty good job of that."
Meanwhile Kearney called on his side to improve their concentration in defence after leaking three tries against the Titans on fourth- or fifth-tackle plays in Round 14.
Overall the Warriors sit in the bottom half of the NRL in terms of defence, averaging 21.6 points conceded per game.
"I thought the Titans scored a couple of tries at the back end of sets, we looked at that pretty closely during the week and I thought we didn't do a good enough job of that," Kearney said.
"We are coming up against a very experienced and tough team this week in the Bulldogs, so we know what we are in for, it's going to be a good old fashioned battle.
"What I do know about the Bulldogs, they have always been a tough footy club and they are a team full of tough individuals."